Pure Danger Tech


One month with Google AdSense

16 Feb 2007

One short month ago I started getting a bunch of traffic for my ANTLR parser series. So, just for grins, I signed up for Google AdSense to see if I could make millions on the flood of traffic.

What I’ve found so far is that most people don’t click on ads! I’m shocked, shocked I tell you! Actually, I don’t even see my own ads due to usingFirefox with AdBlock, so I’m sure many of my readers don’t see them either. And those reading this blog in a feed reader surely don’t see them at all.</p>

Here’s my total stats after one month of activity:

Page impressions Clicks Page CTR Page eCPM Earnings
Total 15,461 45 0.29% $1.10 $17.06
Per day 499 1.45 0.29% $1.10 $0.036

For those not versed in ad terminology, CTR = click-through rate. eCPM is “earnings per 1000 impressions” (or “cost” instead of earnings if you’re on the ad buying side). From what I gather it’s a commonly used metric to measure ad effectiveness. I have no idea what is “normal” or how my data compares with anyone else. I actually am amazed that the clickthrough rate is as high as 0.3% (3 in 1000 impressions). So, in all Google AdSense is making me 3.5 cents per day. Woohoo! Actually, I’d probably do better just to sweep under the vending machine at work every day.

I should note that “impressions” above is actually based on two sets of ad placements – a skyscraper in my left sidebar and a banner at the end of each blog post. Readers hitting the main page will see only the skyscraper. Readers of actual posts will maybe see the banner if they read to the end. I could place the banner higher but I just don’t care that much about making money off the blog – I’d rather put the content first.

Anyhow, Google lets you set up “channels” to tag different ad placements so I actually have data for both placements, although I added the blog post one later so, it was not up for the entire month. I won’t bore you with the details, but the data shows that the majority of the page impressions are from the blog post banner but the majority of the clicks (and earnings) are from the side bar ($14.34 out of $17.06). I think this makes sense as the skyscraper is pretty much always visible and more prominent (and seems to have better ads for some reason).

Another lesson learned is that it is good to frequently check the ads that are actually showing up on your site and tell Google to block the ads that are inappropriate for your content. For example, I wrote a previous blog post on “Generics Pain” regarding Java Generics in JDK 5. But, Google saw “generics” as in “generic drugs” and “pain” as in “ow, it hurts!” and gave me a flood of ads related to discount drugs on the Internet. So, I blocked a whole slew of those as I couldn’t imagine anyone viewing this site actually clicking on one. I actually think a lot of the ones that show up on my site regarding Java jobs or various developer tools are pretty good. I’ve been tempted to click on a few just because they seemed interesting (but that would of course be a violation of the Google terms of service).

I’d be interested in hearing whether others have done better with other ad networks, perhaps ones that would work better with my very targeted audience of (mostly Java) developers. If so, please link it up in the comments.